You guys know I have strong feelings about gender stereotyping. I've hated it for as long as I can remember. What exactly is it I hate so much? It ultimately boils down to dimensionality. In all things I am attracted to depth and complexity; I would rather study an onion than a leaf, for example. I prefer paintings and books and dance pieces and movies which are layered and rich enough that one look at it is not enough to grasp the entire meaning. People are pretty complex, and I hate it when it is assumed that who I am is discernible at a glance.
I don't assume that about people. That's a lie and you know it. I do assume I can sum up others by appearance all the time, and self correct constantly because I believe with such ferocity that it is wrong. Not just unfair, but unethical. Clearly, if I assume that because a child is a girl it is a waste of effort to educate her, this has moral implications that go exactly opposite to my value system, and I fail to see how less damaging instances of two dimensionality are any less wrong.
I know boys and girls are different. But I think our culture goes pretty far in teaching us how to be different, on top of our already differentness. This bothers me, because it limits us by creating a two dimensional expectation which others have and we fulfill, rather than learning about ourselves on a deep level and expecting others to approach us in much the same way, with healthy respect for our complexity.
With this in mind, I sometimes dress my babies in non gender specific clothing. Because babies are cute, and don't have to be strictly pink and blue all the time. When they are older they will learn fairly quickly what's expected of them, I don't need to stuff them in a box with arbitrary boy/girl characteristics from the minute they are born.
I've discovered that people don't like this. I've had four or five people half jokingly chide me for dressing Amarys in ambiguous clothing so they 'can't tell' if she's a boy or a girl. So they have to *gasp* ASK (and often when they ask they choose to guess, wrongly, which creates a bit of embarrassment, which contributes to the chiding, of course). I'm a bit exasperated by this, because I don't want to be chided. I want people to see Amarys for who she is, not what she sports between her legs, but more than that I don't really see what the big deal is. I'm not keeping it a secret like that couple back east whose baby's sex is a big secret from the world and whose name is ambiguous, and who rustled up this big emotional reaction from people sometime this past year. Why do people care so much that they react so strongly? I'm the one who should choose whether or not to be offended that people can't tell she's a girl. I'm not offended. I've never been one to correct people when they guess wrong, which they often do with babies because, well, their looks are pretty homogenous. Someone did guess boy today when Amarys was sitting in a shopping cart wearing a bright pink dress; there's no accounting for blindness, I guess (or cross cultural differences in colour genderization, which is likely to blame for today's incident). "He's so cute!"
"Why thank you!"
She doesn't know the difference. And I don't mind.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that, good natured though it is, it kind of ruffles my feathers when people get their feathers ruffled by my nonchalance regarding Amarys' gender. I'm her mom, and I don't care, and I think it's good for Amarys to grow up in a family where sometimes she's just a kid, rather than a boy or a girl, you know what I mean?